© Melissa Sadler
It’s difficult to split food and beer in Sheffield - they often go hand in hand. And there are literally so many people, pubs and providers that we couldn’t keep on top of them all as there are new things popping up week after week.
But we’ve done our best to showcase what makes our food and drink different from other cities doing similar things (and it’s not just that we don’t inflate the prices as much!).
It’s difficult to find a way of representing such a diverse collection of people and their products, but one person who has been constantly re-thinking food since he came to the city is Matt Bigland. The Milestone put him on the map, and then Craft & Dough was set up - a totally different offering to Jöro. Each of them had a slightly different model, which Matt then took to new levels with Cutlery Works, transforming an old cutlery factory into the city’s first permanent food hall in the vibrant Kelham Island neighbourhood.
The success of all this aside - the crucial differentiator is the role of people in all of this. The video below shows you just how Matt views the scene.
Food is always a personal choice, and there’s plenty of it. We try to keep an up to date listing on our Welcome to Sheffield pages if you want to do some more searching - but don’t forget to just ask people when you’re here, as there are always new places popping up!
Dave Wickett, a Sheffield lecturer and businessman, was key to whole UK real ale revival before he sadly passed in 2012. His dogged determination and vision in a city which lost all four of its volume breweries in the 90s helped to reignite a whole new approach which has helped to shape the regeneration of the inner city through the Valley of Beer and also across Europe and North America, where he also established a small empire.
Thanks to a University of Sheffield report back in 2016, we were able to viably make the claim of being Real Ale Capital of the World (even if some queried how possible it was to make such a claim!). And since then there have been breweries continuously popping up in the region, giving us the diversity and range from worldwide exporters like Thornbridge (who brew in the Peak District but host their flagship pubs in Sheffield) to start-ups like St Mars of the Desert (who did possibly the most extensive research ever before deciding to make Sheffield a home for their beer).
With beer festivals going on throughout the year, hosted by individuals, breweries, event organisers and anyone else who damn well pleases, it’s incredibly difficult to single people out. However, Jules has been at the heart of the scene since opening the Hop Hideout in 2013 and being one of the city’s first premier outlets of craft beer. A bottle shop became a tasting night, and then a festival, and then a promoter, and now… an activist seems like the most fitting description. Championing not only beer but equality and diversity in the industry, we are proud to know Jules is always making beer better in, around and for the people of Sheffield.
Sheffield Beer Week run by Jules Gray showcases the wonderful world of beer throughout the superb indie pubs, micro pubs, beer shops and more venues dotted around the city. Whether that’s a celebration of Belgian beer via a Yorkshire connection (through recently departed beer writer Michael Jackson and his wonderful writing on Belgian beer styles during a tasting one year) to welcoming a group of Scandinavian brewers on a cask research trip to Sheffield!
Collaboration is key with local breweries often joining forces to brew a beer which is then released during the week. Emmeline was a great example of different beer businesses coming together to collaborate and celebrate. A pomelo sour ale brewed at Lost Industry brewery with Neepsend Brew Co, the Devonshire Cat pub, Hop Hideout beer shop and Sheffield Beer Week.
If you want to learn more about some of the breweries in Sheffield then our information on this page is probably a good start, and Our Favourite Places also have a decent rundown. They go a bit further with a great list of craft ale pubs and bars - or if you want a different perspective the Guardian did a nice review.
If you want to go on some proper trails (the more sophisticated term for ‘pub crawl’), then the ones Sheffield Beer Week have put together are probably the best. And you can always buy a nice one to frame on your wall afterwards.